Weapon Systems

Versatile F-16 fighter jet is a worldwide alliance builder


There are currently more than 3,100 F-16s operating in 25 countries. The updated Block 70/72 F-16s will be easier to fly and better capable of intercepting drones and ballistic missiles.

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Two US Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons soar over the Indo-Pacific on December 20. [US Air Force]
Two US Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons soar over the Indo-Pacific on December 20. [US Air Force]

Even more countries are preparing to receive the F-16 Fighting Falcon, demonstrating the worldwide alliance-building capabilities of a jet that has long been sought for its adaptability, cost efficiency and track record.

The F-16 Fighting Falcon is the world's most widely operated multirole fighter jet because of its superior maneuverability, offensive capabilities and proven combat success.

It has been a cornerstone of air forces worldwide for more than four decades as a relatively cost-efficient, high-performance weapon system.

Initially developed in the 1970s, the F-16 has evolved to meet the changing demands of aerial combat.

It was designed as a lightweight, multirole fighter with a focus on air superiority as an alternative to increasingly heavy and cumbersome fighter aircraft. Its design philosophy emphasized maneuverability, adaptability and cost-effectiveness.

The F-16A entered service with the US Air Force in 1978.

Over the years, the F-16 has undergone numerous upgrades and variants, ensuring its relevance in the face of emerging threats. It is agile in air-to-air fighting, ground attack and electronic warfare.

It is one of the most versatile aircraft in the US Air Force and has flown thousands of sorties. It can fly more than 500 miles (805km), deliver weapons with superior accuracy and defend against enemy aircraft, according to the US Air Force.

Alliance builder

The F-16's enduring legacy, marked by decades of service and continual evolution, showcases the adaptability and resilience of this iconic fighter jet.

From its early days, the F-16 has a history of international cooperation.

The United States displayed the newly developed F-16's speed and maneuverability at the 1975 Paris Airshow, impressing NATO allies Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands and Norway.

This reaction led to an unusual consortium agreement that laid the groundwork for building the F-16s.

Those four NATO allies established a consortium with the United States in which they agreed to co-produce and purchase 348 F-16s to be distributed among their air forces. The member states shared maintenance, repair and overhaul work.

Through its legacy of international cooperation, the F-16 has maintained preeminence as the global choice for light fighter aircraft.

There are currently more than 3,100 F-16s operating in 25 countries, according to its manufacturer.

Its presence in various air forces underscores its reliability and effectiveness in diverse operational environments. International users range from Chile to Singapore to Middle Eastern nations including Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq and Jordan.

After Türkiye and Israel, Egypt operates the largest F-16 fleet in the region.

At one point, the US Air Force planned to end production of the F-16 by 2017 but ultimately opted to extend the life of the aircraft. Orders in 2019 by Bahrain, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Taiwan and Morocco spurred further aircraft production.

Bahrain was the first F-16 operator in the Gulf Cooperation Council beginning in the early 1990s, and it became the first to receive the new F-16 Block 70 in 2023.

Slovakia on January 10 also received its first two of 14 F-16 Block 70 jets, with deliveries set to continue through 2025.

In total, six countries have selected the newest Block 70/72 aircraft. Jordan has signed a Letter of Offer and Acceptance for 12 jets, and Bulgaria has also signed for an additional eight jets for its fleet.

The updated Block 70/72 F-16s will be easier to fly and better capable of intercepting drones and ballistic missiles, according to its manufacturer.

Ukraine defense

The F-16 is continuing to demonstrate its value as an alliance builder in Ukraine, where it is set to take part in the nation's defense against Russia's invasion.

The United States in August gave permission to Denmark and the Netherlands to hand over 61 F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine when the country's pilots are trained to operate them. Norway said it too would give F-16s to Ukraine, with news agency NTB reporting the donation would be between five and 10 planes.

The Netherlands announced in December it was preparing to start delivering some of the 42 F-16 combat jets it pledged to Ukraine.

"Today I informed President [Volodymyr] Zelenskyy of our government's decision to prepare an initial 18 F-16 fighter aircraft for delivery to Ukraine," Dutch caretaker prime minister Mark Rutte said on social media December 22, without providing a delivery date.

Denmark will transfer 19 F-16s to Ukraine in the second quarter of 2024, once Ukrainian pilots have completed training, the Danish Defense Ministry said January 6 in a statement.

The Pentagon announced in August it would begin training Ukrainian F-16 pilots in the United States.

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The results of third grade preparatory school, 2024.




Excellent 70645


I hope Sudan military forces have
this compatible fighter


I've flown it and clocked 7300 flight hours between night, day and combat flying. I'm also a combat fllight trainer on it. I love it!